Writers are kind of like Green Lanterns in that we can create anything and are only limited by our imaginations. Okay, so maybe our creations are limited to the page but describe something well enough and it can be brought to life in the reader’s mind. Blake Northcott has done that. She’s created a variety of interesting characters and given them abilities that seem fresh, even putting a twist on how they manifest (hint – look at the cover of the book).
Vs. Reality is a young adult novel that asks the question all geeks have pondered at one time or another – what would you do if you got superpowers? The main character is introduced in the second chapter and again in chapter three. Pay attention and you’ll see what I mean. Cole’s introduction shows us that things aren’t always as they seem; this is a recurring theme throughout the entire book.
The book opens on two ambiguous characters (Mr. Heinreich and Goto) that you’ll remain unsure about the entire time. Are they good guys, bad guys or somewhere in between? I love gray characters and cannot wait to see how they’re developed in the sequel.
My favorite ability is that of Dia’s, Cole’s love interest and introduction into the wide world of superhumans and The Basement. Dia can rip open time and create a portal to travel through. It doesn’t appear that she can travel back or forward in time but she can move between planes as is evident from her and Cole’s brief visit to the ominous Basement. She doesn’t just create rips in the universe though, she also transforms physically. This doesn’t help with her abilities but it’s an interesting addition and would certainly help her maintain a secret identity should she need to in the future.
The story has an international flavor to it which is nice; Northcott doesn’t just focus on the city her characters live in. Interesting bits such as the Great Wall of China melting and spontaneous human combustions in Copenhagen are mentioned; something is clearly wrong yet the characters live in a world where the police no longer carry guns.
As the story progresses, you can tell a surprise or twist is coming but even when it happened it wasn’t something I expected. This isn’t a straightforward superhero, action or romance story. Instead, Vs. Reality incorporates many elements and is a book I think many will enjoy. I constantly hear that more young adult novels need to be written for boys and this is definitely one to recommend, though that’s not to say ladies won’t find plenty to like too.
Vs. Reality doesn’t go too far into the characterizations; just enough that you’ll want to stay for the action and pick up the next book in the series to find out more. Will more drugs be introduced, what exactly is The Basement and are Cole and his friends fighting on the right side? I can’t wait to find out.
Check back Thursday for an interview with author Blake Northcott!
Jen is working on Slacker Heroes, a young adult urban fantasy that follows Sam and his friends as they learn to control their newly acquired superpowers. Being a comic book aficionado, he knows the rules: don’t share your secret, help others when you can, and don’t fall in love with a normal girl. However, Sam and his friends are no heroes and they’re about to break all the rules.
Slacker Heroes will go on submission soon so keep your eyes peeled and fingers crossed!